Under an African moon

Last night, as you may be aware, was a Supermoon full moon. According to Wikipedia “In astrology, a supermoon is a full or new moon that coincides with a close approach by the Moon to the Earth.” Every fisherman I know (including Willie) was at the seaside, because as every fisherman knows the full moon and its effect on the tides, also increases the chances of some good catches. According to Willie (and I don’t know if this is based in fact), a Supermoon therefore was going to be totally awesome!

So while the guys were off playing with the fish, I decided to try my hand at moon photography. It was a beautiful, cloudless night here. I was thinking: how hard can it be? The answer is: it is hard! To get a photograph like Mike from Tau Zero (see here), you have to have good equipment and talent! I found myself to be lacking in both areas.

So last night I learned that:

  • Taking good photos of the moon is hard. Besides the lack of talent, I was using a basic camera (a point-and-shoot with a manual mode which allows you to change the ISO, shutter speed and aperture). With no tripod i.e. trying to focus was not easy.
  • Mike knows what he is doing! His settings worked the best (of all the tips re: moon photography I had read), even for the camera I was using.
  • There are much more detailed and better photos online. If I wanted a good photograph of the moon, that’s where I’d go to get one.
  • Just taking photos of the moon with no background can get boring. I found these photographs from somebody calling themselves NikonGranny (see here). My favourites of hers are: Iowa Moon, Moon and Mooning Geese She likes the moon too, but photographs it in context. Which is probably more my thing. In fact looking at her photographs I think she’s actually trying to photograph birds, and the moon just gets included in the photos!
  • I prefer photographing other things. I really think that with my limited talent and equipment, I should stick to day-time photography, and the things I’m familiar with i.e. plants, animals, bugs, spiders . . .
  • Rosie gets bored very quickly being a camera assistant. She loves being outside with me, but if it doesn’t involve interacting with her, she becomes a pest and gets in the way.
  • Mosquito repellent is a must for night-time photography. There were lots of mosquitoes out last night, and they all loved me!

These are my best efforts . . . you are warned not to expect too much.

Moon rising next to our neighbour's house

Moon as seen on 19 March 2011 from the Southern Cape, South Africa

Moon as seen on 19 March 2011 from the Southern Cape, South Africa

Tags: , , , ,

Categories: Random, Science/Technology


I live on the Southern coast of South Africa, and write about the things that interest, amuse or inspire me. You can find me at https://notesfromafrica.wordpress.com and http://southerncape.wordpress.com (my photoblog)


Subscribe to the Notes from Africa RSS and Twitter feeds to receive updates.

28 Comments on “Under an African moon”

  1. March 20, 2011 at 2:28 pm #

    It was a beautiful night here too, clear sky, full moon, like a dream! but the best view was from the train station and it´s kind of dangerous to go walking with the camera there so I didn´t try. Yes, it´s very hard, specially with our cameras but I try when I have the chance. Just once I got a picture that was pretty decent!!

    • March 20, 2011 at 2:50 pm #

      I find it interesting how people all over the world are talking about the Supermoon. Everybody saw it – just from different perspectives. I would have loved to be in the desert last night. With no city lights close by, it would have been truly amazing.

      Do you still have your moon photograph? I think you have more skill than I do re: photography.

  2. María
    March 20, 2011 at 2:37 pm #

    Very beautifull images, I like your site.
    African moon is something special in my life.
    Greettings from Spain,


    • March 20, 2011 at 2:51 pm #

      Thank you for visiting my site, and for your kind comments.

      Greetings to you from South Africa!

  3. March 20, 2011 at 4:43 pm #

    Thanks for the kind words and the link. But I must disagree, respectfully, about the level of your talent. I think the quality of your posts proves my point – they are interesting and insightful and you have great photos. 🙂

    • March 20, 2011 at 5:45 pm #

      Ah, thanks! Any good photos I take are usually luck or a great deal of trial and error. Am learning though.

      I thought I’d send you some more traffic, since it doesn’t look as if you’ve had enough people reading your post yet! 😉

  4. March 20, 2011 at 6:54 pm #

    Great photos! I wish I had known about the supermoon before last night.

  5. March 20, 2011 at 8:25 pm #

    Great post Lisa!!!

    • March 20, 2011 at 9:14 pm #

      Thanks! You probably have a great view of the moon where you are at the moment.

  6. jacquelincangro
    March 20, 2011 at 8:56 pm #

    Your shots are beautiful! I particularly like the 2nd one with the yellowish glow. I wasn’t aware that last night was the supermoon, but the light from the moon was so strong, it woke me up. I couldn’t help but get out of bed and look at it for a moment. It was stunning.

    • March 20, 2011 at 9:21 pm #

      Thanks! The yellow moon is my favourite one too. As it got higher in the sky it got whiter and brighter. Really eerie waking up in the middle of the night and there being so much light outside.

  7. Estie
    March 21, 2011 at 8:41 am #

    A great post. I have to agree with Mike.

  8. March 21, 2011 at 6:17 pm #

    In light of the fact that I haven’t seen the sky (day or night) for well over a week due to a vast canvas of dark, brooding clouds it was a delight to see your photos of the super moon, Lisa. And very good ones at that if I may say so! That yellowish tinge illuminates the mottled features. Thanks for enabling me to see something that was only overhead, but madly obscured!

    • March 22, 2011 at 7:11 am #

      Thanks for your kind comments, Julian!

      It was such a beautiful night here – the kind you get after a really hot summer’s day.

  9. March 21, 2011 at 8:15 pm #

    There simply is an energy that unites all of humanity and the supermoon sure delivers.

    • March 22, 2011 at 7:14 am #

      Yes, it does! I think because all over the world people were experiencing and talking about the same thing.

      Thanks for reading and leaving a comment!

  10. March 22, 2011 at 1:01 am #

    Your photos are really good, Lisa! Although, I’m with you on sticking to daytime photography. I like sitting under the moon and admiring it, but I don’t necessarily like taking pictures of it.

    • March 22, 2011 at 7:18 am #

      Thanks Jolene! I’m glad that a took some photos of the moon since it’s going to be a couple of years until the next one, but there are definitely subjects which fascinate me more.

  11. March 22, 2011 at 5:08 am #

    Your photos of the moon are amazing, Lisa! Looks like you have a knack for it even though you may prefer to photograph other things. Way to go!

    • March 22, 2011 at 7:34 am #

      Thanks Cait! It’s a pity you had cloud cover where you are. You could have taken some amazing photos with that new lens of yours!

  12. March 22, 2011 at 6:04 pm #

    The moon was beautiful. Like you I tried, but my pictures were a blur. It might have been because I was walking the dog trying to snap it with an iPhone at the same time.

    • March 22, 2011 at 6:44 pm #

      So you had clear skies where you live too? I would have thought that just taking a photo of the moon with an iPhone would have been plenty challenging – without adding the dog! 🙂

  13. March 22, 2011 at 6:45 pm #

    We had heavy rain that night in JHB but the moon has been beautiful for the two nights since the official full moon. I agree with the others, your talent is not lacking in the slightest.

    • March 22, 2011 at 10:09 pm #

      Thanks! Yes, the moon was still pretty bright on Sunday and Monday night. Tonight it’s cloudy here.

  14. Lu
    March 24, 2011 at 4:14 pm #

    Hi Lisa, Like you I also tried my hand at “catching the supermoon” using Mike’s settings. Unfortunately those ones suffered an attack of camera shake. The best shot I got was on slightly different settings. I did learn something new though and it was worth the effort – even though it didn’t come out nearly as nice as Mike’s! I also like your “yellow supermoon”.. Did Willie manage to get in a good catch?

    • March 24, 2011 at 4:34 pm #

      Thanks! I actually saw your supermoon photo the day you posted it. I tried to take more photos of the setting almost-full moon on Tuesday morning (22 March). Using a higher ISO and exposure and I got some craters visible on the edge of the moon!

      Willie’s Supermoon fishing expedition: They did catch quite a few fish, but then they usually do. Was it better fishing than normal? Mmmh . . . not really. I think it was a good excuse for them to spend the whole weekend fishing! 🙂 There were excuses made of the sea temperature being too cold etc etc . . .

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: